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Everybody wants to be a manager or director. Hell, why not? Extracting yourself from the pig sty of hard and sweaty work that directly creates value is the smart thing to do in an obsolete org that is structured as a stratified pyramid. And, how many orgs do you know that aren’t structured as outdated command and control hierarchys? Subjectively of course, I assert that managing and directing others ( fancy words for command and control) is easy relative to doing hard work and constantly getting beat over the head with the schedule stick. Plus, it’s pays more, and you get to have some fancy title of superficial importance appended to your name. Oh sure, you have to put up with whiny direct reports (like me 🙂 ) but does that really warrant more pay and value by fancier and higher paid people positioned even higher up in the pyramid of woe?

I respect people, not titles. If you, as an anointed and highly compensated manager or director:

  • listen to your people and treat them as equals,
  • actively and visibly help your people get their jobs done better and better each day ,
  • pay for ongoing training that’s critical to the company’s future success,
  • constantly and diligently take action to repair decaying infrastructure as a result of increasing entropy (2nd law of thermodynamics)
  • don’t act two-faced (e.g. pounding your people with schedule while espousing “quality is king”),
  • behave congruently and with integrity,

then I’ll respect you and the title that you rode in with. Otherwise, fuggetabout you, your fat head, and your fancy title. Other people, out of the natural fear that all pyramid org structures auto-instill into the minions at the bottom, may feign respect, but I won’t. However, being human, and (hopefully) not too stupid, I do publicly kneel and pay homage to the awesome power to instill fear that is naturally built into the hierarchy – most of the time. Since “most” is not the same as “all”, you can use your imagination to envision my day-to-day experience in a hierarchically structured workplace.

Being a software designer, I’ve learned that different structure types enable or disable different types of behavior. The pointy haired hierarchy, with it’s long history of top down command and control misery, is a disabler of highly creative, adaptive, and efficient human behavior. Since humans (especially those in western countries) are mostly about “me and my story”, and those at the top always accumulate riches at the expense of those at the bottom and on the outside, the pyramid of woe won’t be going away soon.

Regardless of the amount of damage inflicted upon those at the bottom and to external stakeholders, the people at the top will continue to wield their power to keep themselves entrenched. Why continue this irrational behavior? In order to continue living the high life of luxury and consumption, of course.  However, the relatively flat network structure fueled by the rise of the internet, will eventually displace the collapsing corpo C & C hierarchy in the future. Those that wait too long will die. Too bad this global maelstrom of change won’t happen in my lifetime.

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